Friday, July 22, 2011

Cover Illustration for Realms of Fantasy

I am very pleased to announce that my art will be featured on the cover of the August '11 issue of Realms of Fantasy! This is my second time working with Doug Cohen and RoF, and it was once again a pleasure. One of my favorite things about working with them is their philosophy of creative freedom. It is a very rare thing these days for publications and art directors to show so much trust in their artists, and it is a big breath of fresh air to be allowed to really bring a personal voice to a story and feel supported doing it.

Originally this piece was commissioned solely as the interior illustration to a story called Leap of Faith by Alan Smale. The story had a lot of themes that really appealed to me: archaic biblical gods, the imperfection of creation, flawed industrialization. It brought together very separate historical elements that you wouldn't expect to see together in one world, and it was a fun challenge to bring them together. I did pages of thumbnails but eventually narrowed down what I wanted to a scene with the main character and Smale's incarnation of the Lilith 'demon'.

I played with the composition and size relationships a bit but decided the first two felt a little too "Night on Bald Mountain' for me. The last had the best movement and hinted at a more communal relationship between the characters. Plus the view of a vast ruined industrial landscape from a place of height tied in better with the story theme for me.

Progress shot of mostly under painting.

The final piece!

Now you may have noticed a slight difference in my final piece and the one appearing on the cover. That's because when it was just an interior, the presentation of the Lilith's 'femininity' was still ambiguous enough not to be worrisome. There was no blatant nudity after all. However, when Doug started talking about using it for the cover, there was then the question of how ambiguous is not ambiguous enough for the general public. While Doug and I both loved the piece how it was, I didn't think a little edit for peace of mind would do anything to its integrity and a few more appropriately placed feathers did the trick. Et Voila!

I can't wait to see the cover all shiny and in person!